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Type Basics: Type Tool Presets and Options

Photoshop's Options Bar includes the capability to save tool presets. This is a great way to speed your work with the Type tool. If you regularly use certain fonts at certain sizes, they can be saved as presets in the Tool Presets Picker at the left end of the Options Bar. Once you’ve saved a preset, you can set the Type tool to use those options by simply selecting the configuration from the Tool Presets palette.

To create a Type tool preset, select the font, size, anti-aliasing, alignment, and color, then click the New Tool Preset button (see Figure 8). You'll have the opportunity to name the new configuration. You can name the tool preset according to the selected options or by the intended use.

Figure 8

Figure 8 Tool presets (for any tool) can improve your efficiency.

Each of the settings in the Options Bar can be changed for a preset. The values in the Character and Paragraph palettes are recorded as well. (The Horizontal Type tool and the Vertical Type tool have separate presets.) These tool presets are available only when the Type tool is selected and not actually in the act of adding type to the image. (When you're adding type, the Tool Preset palette's button is grayed out.)

Immediately to the right of the Tool Preset Picker button is a button that allows you to switch existing type between horizontal and vertical. The button is available when a type layer is active in the Layers palette, whether the type itself is selected in the window or not. Swapping the type orientation applies to the entire type layer; you cannot change part of a sentence from horizontal to vertical.

With a type tool active, you can use the Options Bar to change font, the font style (when the font has multiple styles available), type size, anti-aliasing, alignment, and color. To the right, the Options Bar offers additional buttons to change the alignment of the text (left, center, and right-aligned). Click the color swatch to open the Color Picker to change the color of the text either before using the Type tool or afterward. (You can change the color of one or more selected characters or the entire content of a type layer.)

Just to the right of the color swatch is a button to open the Warp Type dialog box (see Figure 9). The only difference between using this button and choosing Layer, Type, Warp Text is convenience. To the right of Warp Text is a button that toggles the visibility of the Character and Paragraph palettes. Again, this is comparable to expanding palettes from the dock or using the appropriate commands in the Window menu to show and hide the palettes.

Figure 9

Figure 9 The buttons to the right open Type Warp and show/hide the Character and Paragraph palettes.

Because the Options Bar is contextual, these fields and buttons are only available when the Type tool is active. However, when a type layer is active in the Layers palette, no matter what tool is selected, all these capabilities are available in the Character and Paragraph palettes (and many are also found by choosing Layer, Type).

When creating Type tool presets, keep in mind not only the frequency with which you use certain configurations, but also the amount of time and effort it takes to establish them. If, for example, you regularly use the Type tool set to Arial Black, 14 point to create web buttons, that’s a natural for a Type tool preset. But let’s say that once-in-a-blue-moon you must use the Type tool set to Comic Sans, 18 point, 36 point leading, height scaled to 225%, width scaled to 150%, RGB 27/134/98, faux italic, paragraph indenting 23 points with first line indenting set to –100 points, and hyphenation on (see Figure 10). It takes quite a while to make all of those changes (and some effort to remember all the settings, too). Create a Type tool preset and that strange collection of options is ready to go in no time!

Figure 10

Figure 10 Tool presets are great not only for often-used options, but for complex configurations, too.

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